The CCL evolved in an independent Roman Catholic parish and has been in use for over a decade.
In 2004, Jane Via was ordained a deacon on the Danube River in what became the Roman Catholic Womenpriest movement. In 2005, she met Rod Stephens, a recently retired canonical priest, in the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles. Together, Jane and Rod realized Jane's dream of a Catholic parish for driven away Catholics, fallen away Catholics, remarried without annulment Catholics, LGBTQI Catholics and Catholics who can no longer worship with integrity in the canonical Roman Catholic Church. On November 27, 2005, they founded Mary Magdalene the Apostle Catholic Community (MMACC) structured on a traditional parish model along with about 40 progressive Catholics from the San Diego area.
As pastor of a newly founded Catholic community, Jane was responsible for Sunday liturgy. She was deeply committed to rendering Scripture readings in inclusive language, which required spending time with the canonical Roman Catholic Lectionary. As a former professor of Biblical Studies, with an emphasis in New Testament Studies, Jane quickly realized that gospel readings with women protagonists were frequently missing from the canonical lectionary. Jane began to modify the lectionary to include those narratives about women.
In June 2007, Nancy Corran - a founding member of MMACC - joined the MMACC pastoral team. Her graduate degrees and advanced studies in theology and ministry provided her with a strong Biblical foundation and tools of interpretation. As part of her duties, she took over the preparation of the lectionary readings and expanded them to include otherwise excluded readings about women from the wider New Testament and Catholic Christian Old Testament. In 2010, Nancy was ordained a priest and continued to be the primary writer and editor of the MMACC Lectionary. A three-year lectionary cycle unfolded which generally follows the Roman Catholic Lectionary but adds the "lost" narratives about Biblical women. These additions necessitated some reorganization of the canonical lectionary.3 Over time, Nancy and Jane discovered that Biblical narratives about women were systematically excluded from the canonical lectionary. Evidence of systematic exclusion includes the following important texts:
The canonical reading of God's visitation to Abraham and Sarah, which ends at Genesis 18:10a, eliminates Sarah's presence, words and her unmediated conversation with God. The CCL restores Sarah's part in the Biblical narrative by adding Genesis 18:10b-15. In the canonical reading (1 Samuel 20-22, 24-28) of Hannah's story (1 Samuel 1:1-2:21), Hannah's husband tells her to do what she thinks is best and remain home from a return trip to Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:23). This singular verse, in which Elkanah affirms Hannah's authority in their family, is excluded from the canonical reading which occurs on the Feast of the Holy Family. The entire Book of Ruth is excluded from the canonical Sunday and Major Feast Day Lectionary. In the resurrection narrative of John 20:11-18, Jesus makes his first resurrection appearance. He appears in the garden to Mary Magdalene. This passage is never read at any Easter service or on any Sunday in the canonical church. Luke 13:10-17, the Bent Over Woman, is excluded from the canonical Lectionary although the pericopes which precede it and follow it are included. The story of Lydia and the synagogue of women which Paul visited (Acts 16:11-15, 40) is excluded too.